Waterjet Refrigerator Magnets

Introduction: Waterjet Refrigerator Magnets

About: Hi! I'm Star Simpson! I'm a real me! See more at [http://stars.mit.edu stars.mit.edu]. photo by [http://bea.st/ Jeff Lieberman] (http://bea.st) stasterisk - my name is Star, and when I was 13 I ...

Make your own refrigerator magnets!

(of course, you can also free-hand with an exacto knife -- be careful!)

Brilliant - you can write on magnetic sheeting using dry-erase markers!

Also, attached is a pdf on how to use a waterjet in general.

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Step 1: Acquire Magnetic Vinyl Sheeting

A lot of sign-making places will give you their scraps for free. I got mine online at http://www.dickblick.com/zz289/21/.

The company that makes it told me that you can laser cut the magnetic sheeting just fine, no problem, it's been done, but to avoid laser cutting any magnetic sheeting covered with vinyl (the shiny colored part, shown here in color "gold", much more sparkly in real life than in this picture), because of the noxious fumes.

Step 2: Find a Steel Sheet

The steel sheet can be fairly thin, and even rusty (as below). This is just to provide the magnetic sheet with something to stick to while it's waterjetting, so that it doesn't float away. You can conveniently use the sheet's magnetic properties, and you don't have to use a clamp!

If you don't have steel, anything else heavy and rigid and bigger than your magnetic material will work, but you'll need clamps.

Step 3: Don Safety Gear!

Keep your eyes and ears (water jets are loud).

Step 4: Place It on the Waterjet Table

Position the corner near the "origin" of the table. Move the Nozzle to the zero point. If you need to, move the nozzle head to the height you desire in the z-direction, as well.

Be sure the waterjet isn't going to crash, if your sheet of metal is bent.

Step 5: Raise the Water Level

You want water about an inch and a half to two inches over the sheet.

Step 6: Create Your Drawing

Shown here is OMAX Layout.

Export it as an ORD (or appropriate) file.

You want to make any thin sections HUGE. Wider and thicker than you would ordinarily imagine, because under a waterjet, magnetic sheet rips very easily!

Step 7: Enter the Materials Settings

in OMAX Make:

I set the material to .0625" thick, machineability of 1000, and turned on anything that said "low pressure".

Step 8: Waterjet!

Hit the "Begin Machining" button.

Keep the water level high, keep your fingers clear of the jets, your safety goggles on, and try to stay dry!

Step 9: Extract Magnets

You will want to pause the machine every time a shape is cut, to keep in from floating off. Even under "low pressure" settings, the water jet etched the steel beneath it, and the water was more than enough to break the magnetic sheet free from the steel, causing some of them to float away.

Pause, retrieve magnets, and resume machining until done.

Keep your hands free of the jet! Don't put your hands anywhere near the waterjet when it's running.

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    4 Discussions


    4 years ago

    Waterjets are nice ! A friend of mine who owns a machine shop has one . He took some leftover pieces of 3/16 inch aluminum " diamond plate " , and cut out 7 inch by 7 inch skull faces and gave me one . I use it as a decoration on the back of my Harley motorcycle . Although I didn't use a waterjet to cut them out , I have made some " refrigerator magnets " . I put my band name and other things on them . Being somewhat of a " dumpster diver " I got my material for free ! The factory I worked at was always throwing out all kinds of stuff that could be re-used . If you remember when the " generic products " were in vogue ( maybe before your time ) , where they had a plain white package with black letters that just said " beer " or " spaghetti " or whatever . My favorite of all of the ones that I made , was ones that had a white background with black letters that just said " refrigerator magnet " !

    Cheers , take care , and have a good day !


    Reply 4 years ago

    Oh yeah , I am glad that you stressed the safety aspects of waterjets . Another hazard to consider when dealing with dihydrogen monoxide !

    Cheers !

    Lance Mt.
    Lance Mt.

    11 years ago on Introduction

    Sweet.. Now all i need to to is pick one up from down the road... I'm sure they'll give it to me for a Chinese container full of coins... (sigh)